A sarcoma is a rare tumor that arises out of connective tissue such as bone (osseous), cartilage, skeletal muscle, smooth muscle, tendons, veins/arteries, nerves, skin, and fatty tissues. Fortunately for our patients, one of the area's premier physician specialists in the treatment of sarcoma calls Proliance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine home.
There are approximately 10,000 new cases of sarcoma diagnosed in the United States each year, representing just one percent of all cancers. Close to 80% of these are soft tissue sarcomas; the other 20% or so are bone cancers.
Patients with a soft tissue tumor typically present with a painless, firm, soft tissue mass, while patients with osseous tumor often present with pain. The first step in determining whether such a tumor is a sarcoma is a complete medical history and physical examination performed by our Orthopaedic Oncologist and his support team. A number of diagnostic tests may be involved, including blood tests, xrays, CT scan, MRI, bone scan, and PET scan. Depending on the results of the diagnostic imaging, biopsy may be indicated.
Fortunately, benign, or non-cancerous connective tissue tumors are far more common than sarcomas. The treatment of a specific tumor, whether benign or malignant, is determined by the exact nature of the tumor, and ranges from observation, to surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. In every case, a coordinated team of specialists will be involved in the design of a treatment program that will help our patients recover, with the fullest function possible, from these rare tumors.
For more information about the orthopaedic conditions and treatments for these body areas, visit our Patient Education section.